Up until 2014 much of my artistic practice revolved around still life, urban scenes, floral and interiors. However at that point, my focus took a radical turn. I’ve turned into a devoted landscape painter because I learned to paint ‘en plein air’. For newbies, ‘plein air’ basically means painting outside from life. I began painting plein air by taking a workshop in Jasper from artist Liz Wiltzen. After that I was hooked.
I’d tried painting landscape from photos for years. But I never was able to achieve what I was hoping. My colours were always off and nothing I created felt ‘real’. I wrote the genre off, thinking I just wasn’t a landscape painter. Was I wrong. Once I began painting outside, away from photos, I could actually see the real colours I was trying to capture. And even better, I was part of that image – it was all around me. I could see, hear, taste, smell and feel everything. What a difference. Now I can’t imagine working exclusively from a photo because it’s far too limiting. Below are a few of my most recent plein air works – I hope you enjoy.
PS – If you’re an artist and would like to take a plein air workshop from me, visit my Workshops page. I have a class lined up for the end of July in Calgary. I hope you can join me.
My newest painting is fresh off the easel. ‘Hazy Days of Spring’ grew from my obsession with painting the earliest spring greens I could find. I spent weeks going out to paint ‘plein air’ (ie in the outdoors on location) trying to catch those first soft green leaves. They looked like a soft haze over the treetops. Just a whisper of green – so delicate and lovely.
We had a particularly early spring this year in the foothills, so I got an early start to plein air season! I was delighted to catch those first days of hazy spring greens, and this is one of the resulting studio pieces from the images and paint sketches I developed.
I painted ‘Hazy Days’ on birch panel. I first coated it with multiple layers of gesso to create a good tooth for the oil paint, and for longevity. This is a new surface for my larger work. I often paint on panel when working plein air, so I thought I’d try it for my studio pieces also. It enabled me to create a wide variety of edges, strokes and finishes. Plus, its sturdiness held up to my scribbles and any kind of strength of brush stroke I threw at it. A beautifully versatile surface which enabled me to keep a loose feel, despite the larger size.
Here are a couple of details…
WET PAINTING SALE
If you’re interested in taking this painting home, it’s available today for a special one-day price. Click here for details.
I’m delighted to announce that I’m joining the team of talented teachers at Cochrane Arts Central this fall! First classes began yesterday – what a great group of creative students we have! Everyone was willing to try out new ideas and got lots of fun paintings done! And thanks so much to everyone there for making me feel so welcome! I’m teaching two weekly classes there: Tues afternoon 1-4pm, and Tues evening from 7-9:30. If you’d like to join us, please call Marla or Tanya at 403-932-3773.
I was first introduced to the Cochrane Arts Central team on Aug 25, at the 1st Annual Plein Air Challenge at ‘The Crossing at Ghost River’. The Crossing is a stunning corporate and event center, nestled into the glorious landscape northwest of Cochrane. I felt instantly at home amongst the warm camaraderie of the other artists and our hosts, not to mention the chipmunks and birds. Much to my delight, Marla Blackwell, owner of Cochrane Arts Central and I were both awarded with prizes in the competition. Marla and I received 2nd & 3rd places respectively in the Professional Category!
Our paintings from the competition will both be available for purchase at Cochrane Arts Central’s Gallery Grand Opening this coming Sunday, Sept 15 from 12-4pm. I’m looking forward to being there. The Gallery artists will be in attendance – hope you can join us and celebrate this wonderful center for artists in Cochrane.
Thanks so much for continuing to join me on my artistic journey. Best, Cheryl.
I’ll never get over what a kick it is to see ‘me’ on another website. I submitted my next painting demonstration at Galleria to the folks at Swerve Calgary and they accepted it for posting. So cool. I’m guessing they likely post almost everything they receive for events… but still! Any little bit of extra exposure is something I’m very, very grateful for. Thanks Swerve!